Date/Time - Tuesday, February 1, at 6 p.m. Central
Arena – Kohl Center (17,230)
Television - ESPN (Dave O'Brien, Dan Dakich and Jill Montgomery)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas)
Series – Purdue Leads 103-63 (UW leads 45-36 in Madison)
Last Meeting - Purdue won, 60-57, on Jan. 28, 2010 in West Lafayette, Ind.
Wisconsin Probable Starters
11 Jordan Taylor (Junior Guard, 17.4 ppg)
21 Josh Gasser (Freshman Guard, 5.3 ppg)
24 Tim Jarmusz (Senior Forward, 4.0 ppg)
30 Jon Leuer (Senior Forward, 19.2 ppg)
52 Keaton Nankivil (Senior Forward, 9.7 ppg)
Off the Bench
2 Wquinton Smith (Senior Guard, 0.5 ppg)
5 Ryan Evans (Sophomore Forward, 2.7 ppg)
31 Mike Bruesewitz (Sophomore Forward, 5.0 ppg)
33 Rob Wilson (Junior Guard, 2.0 ppg)
40 Jared Berggren (Sophomore Forward, 3.1 ppg)
Purdue Probable Starters
23 Lewis Jackson (Junior Guard, 7.0 ppg)
24 Ryne Smith (Junior Guard, 6.8 ppg)
25 JaJuan Johnson (Senior Forward, 20.7 ppg)
33 E'Twuan Moore (Senior Guard, 17.5 ppg)
50 Travis Carroll (Freshman Forward, 1.5 ppg)
Off the Bench
0 Terone Johnson (Freshman Guard, 5.2 ppg)
12 Kelsey Barlow (Sophomore Guard, 5.4 ppg)
21 D.J. Byrd (Sophomore Guard, 4.6 ppg)
32 John Hart (Sophomore Guard, 6.3 ppg)
Last Time Out
But beating Wisconsin on Saturday was especially special.
Battle scored 20 of his 22 points after halftime and the Nittany Lions crashed the boards and turned up the defensive pressure in the second half to beat the Badgers, 56-52.
Finally, a 12-game losing streak over eight years to Wisconsin (15-5, 5-3) was over. Battle and his three fellow seniors had never tasted victory against the Badgers -- until Saturday.
"That's why he hugged me at the end of the game," a happy DeChellis said. "Four years of frustration."
"Our kids, we believe we can win," DeChellis said.
The results haven't always been there, though, in Happy Valley, where the basketball team often struggles to fill the 15,000-plus seat Jordan Center.
Not Saturday, when Battle, Brooks and Jones helped deliver another important win for Penn State's postseason resume in front of about 14,200 fans who came out in spite of about a couple inches of morning snow.
Go-to guy Battle led the charge -- as usual. His 3-pointer off an inbounds pass with 10:51 left gave Penn State its first lead of the night.
With Wisconsin threatening to regain the momentum by slowing the game down to a comfortably methodical pace, Battle's 3 from about 30 feet put the Nittany Lions up for good, 43-42 with 4:51 left, and Brooks followed with another 3 about 30 seconds later to force the Badgers to call timeout.
Then with 1:16 left Battle drove the lane before feeding Jones for a layup for a 50-44 lead. Battle finished it off by going 5 of 6 from the line over the final 25 seconds.
Penn State also benefited from several missed open looks from the Badgers, who shot 32 percent in the second half after hitting 54 percent in the first.
Playing in a building where they had won twice in 42 years and facing its biggest test without its biggest inside presence, No.16 Wisconsin did everything it could to exercise its Mackey Arena demons, having No.10 Purdue on the ropes twice late in the second half.
When it came to crunch time, the Badgers couldn't stop E'Twuan Moore and couldn't get their crunch-time player - senior Trevon Hughes - to drop not one, but two game-winning attempts, a series of events that spelled out a 60-57 loss in front of a sellout crowd of 14,123.
"It's especially frustrating tonight because I felt like we (had them) a couple times where we wanted them," said junior Keaton Nankivil, who led all scores with 25. "We had them with 10 minutes left, with a couple minutes left and both cases, I thought we had some good stuff going. They made plays down the stretch and we struggled a couple times."
Wisconsin (16-5, 6-3 Big Ten) looked to be headed toward another ‘what-if' defeat midway through the second half when the Badgers saw a 38-31 lead with 13:01 remaining evaporate over a six-minute span, as Purdue (17-3, 5-3) carved out a 17-2 run with just over seven minutes left.
But on a night where Nankivil simply couldn't miss, the Badgers clawed back into the fight. Tying the school record with seven three-pointers and a career-high in points, Nankivil, after stuffing senior Chris Kramer, buried a three-pointer from the top of the key with 42 seconds left to put the Badgers up 57-56.
"We just kept fighting back and doing what we had to do up until the very end," Nankivil said.
Then came the two part ending for Wisconsin. Part one came compliments of Moore, who drove past guard Jordan Taylor off a screen and pulled up in the lane to deliver a floater over Nankivil with 25.2 seconds left, giving Purdue a 58-57 lead.
"We ran that play four or five times before that," Moore said. "It was just a pick and roll … and I just had to read the defense. It just so happened that … I made the shot."
The second part was a struggling Hughes having two looks at making the Badgers a winner. His first attempt was a three-pointer from the left elbow that went awry, but bounced off a Purdue player and out of bounds. Although admitting to getting hit on the elbow, Hughes, who finished the game 0-of-5 from three-point range, knew no call was coming.
"I should have been more aggressive and attack the first time," Hughes said.
With six seconds remaining, Hughes got another chance to attack the rim. Driving the lane until he ran into three Purdue defenders, Hughes' shot was too strong, bouncing off the glass and the front rim before falling into the hands of junior JaJuan Johnson.
After Johnson (14 points) made two free throws, Wisconsin's desperation heave with one second left was picked off by Kramer, moving the Boilermakers a half game behind the Badgers in the standings.
"We gave ourselves an opportunity to steal one on the road and we didn't walk away with us," said Hughes. "It's hard missing the next shot … I promise you next time I am in that predicament, I will (make it)."
Hughes finished 3-of-11 from the field and a glaring 3-of-8 from the free throw line, but combined with Taylor for nine assists and two turnovers.
Purdue has won six of the last 10 meetings, but Wisconsin won the most recent match-up at the Kohl Center, putting a blemish on Purdue's perfect 14-0 start in 2009-10. In fact, UW has won 8 of the 10 Kohl Center meetings between the Badgers and Boilers.
Since Bo Ryan arrived in Madison, Purdue leads the series 8-6. The Boilermakers are the only Big Ten team with a winning record against the Badgers in that era.
With two wins, Purdue is one of just three Big Ten teams to record wins at the Kohl Center in the Bo Ryan era.
After dropping the first 17 road games of head coach Matt Painter's tenure, Purdue is 25-17 (.595) in its last 42 games on an opponent's home floor. The Boilers' 23 true road wins since the start of the 2007-08 season are tied for the most in the Big Ten.
The Boilermakers are averaging a league-best 16.44 assists per game in Big Ten play, led by Moore's 4.2 per contest. Moore's 3.80 assist-to-turnover ratio in Big Ten games ranks second in the league.
The Boilermakers head into the Wisconsin game with a +3.5 rebounding margin in Big Ten action. Purdue has outrebounded six of its first nine Big Ten opponents, with three games seeing the Boilers post a double-digit advantage on the glass. Senior forward/center JaJuan Johnson is averaging 7.7 boards per game in league play, while senior guard E'Twaun Moore is getting 5.4 per outing.
Purdue shot just .681 from the free throw line in non-conference play this season, but the Boilermakers have stepped up their performance at the stripe during Big Ten action. The Boilers are shooting .742 from the line as a team during league action, bringing their season mark to .707.
Keaton Nankivil has topped the 20-point mark twice in his career, and both times have come against Purdue.
Nankivil had 21 points (5-of-5 from 3-point range) in UW's 64-63 loss to the Boilers on 2/27/09 and tied a UW record with 7 3-pointers and finished with 25 points in a 60-57 loss at Purdue on 1/28/10. He is 12-of-16 (.750) from 3-point range in 4 career games vs. Purdue.
UW lost when holding a halftime lead (29-20) for just the 17th time in Bo Ryan's 10 years at Wisconsin. The Badgers had won 12 straight vs. Penn State before Saturday's loss. The last time the Nittany Lions defeated UW was in 2003.
With a 76-66 win over Illinois (1/15/11), Wisconsin has now won its last 18 consecutive games following a loss. Last season, UW was the only Big Ten team that did not lose consecutive games. The last time UW lost back-to-back games was January of 2009. Of those 18 wins after a loss, six of them have come over ranked teams.
In 10 seasons at Wisconsin, Bo Ryan's teams are 33-37 overall vs. ranked opponents, including an impressive 23-7 mark at the Kohl Center.
Props my colleague, Michael Bleach, for running the Badger Nation ship while I was at sea. Shame on him for not listening to my prediction that Wisconsin would lose by four at State College. The Badgers have been below average away from the KC, but UW has looked great at home, which will be key on tonight.
A key factor will be Purdue's league-leading scoring average of 74.8 ppg against Wisconsin's conference-best defensive average of 58.9 ppg in conference games.
The Boilers have scored at least 76 points 12 times this season, and have won 36-straight games when scoring 70 or more points. Excluding overtime games, Wisconsin hasn't allowed an opponent to score 70 or more points on its home floor in over two years. That covers a span of 35 games, which ranks second behind Ohio State (36) as the longest active streak in the nation.
The game will also feature the top two scorers in Big Ten games, as Purdue's Johnson leads the league with an average of 21.3 ppg and UW's Taylor checks in at 20.3 ppg. It also features the top two scoring combos in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers are 61-9 (.871) in Johnson and Moore's career when both score in double figures and Leuer and Taylor score an average of 36.6 points per game.
If this game were on the road, I would say Wisconsin's bounce-back streak ends, but the Badgers have been hot on the road. If they can get a couple shots to go down, I think the Badgers register their best win of the season, a seven-point victory over Purdue.
Worgull's Record: 19-1
Points off Prediction: 133 (6.7 per game)